Google is retaliating against the organizers of a company-wide walkout to protest against the way the tech giant treats women workers, according to a pair of employee activists.

"My manager started ignoring me, my work was given to other people, and I was told to go on medical leave, even though I'm not sick," wroe Claire Stapleton in an internal email published by Wired.  "Only after I hired a lawyer and had her contact Google did management conduct an investigation and walked back my demotion, at least on paper.  While my work has been restored, the environment remains hostile and I consider quitting nearly every day."

Meredith Whittaker co-signed the email and added that her own role in Google had also been "changed dramatically", alleging that Google is trying to force her to give up her pioneering work in the ethics of Artificial Intelligence.

Last November, thousands of Google workers around the world walked off the job for a brief time to protest what they say is Google's poor treatment of women, including sexual harassment and unequal pay.  Women claiming sexual harassment are forced to go through "forced arbitration", which makes it impossible for them to sue. 

Google is denying the allegations.

"We prohibit retaliation in the workplace and investigate all allegations," said a Google spokesperson, "Employees and teams are regularly and commonly given new assignments, or reorganised, to keep pace with evolving business needs.